Here’s how Arizona GOP lawmakers aim to avoid Hobbs’ veto stamp on some border legislation

Mar 12, 2024, 2:00 PM

Arizona Senate President Warren Petersen, right, looks on during Gov. Katie Hobbs' 2023 State of th...

Arizona Senate Warren Petersen, left, said Republican lawmakers are working to pass border legislation despite the threat of Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs' veto stamp. (Facebook File Photo/Governor Katie Hobbs)

(Facebook File Photo/Governor Katie Hobbs)

PHOENIX – Arizona Republicans are continuing to push border-related legislation after Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs rejected their first bill to address the issue.

State Senate President Warren Petersen told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Tuesday that his caucus expects to pass multiple border-related bills in the coming weeks. With a slim advantage in each chamber, Republicans can pass items without bipartisan support.

At least two of the proposals are concurrent resolutions that would go before voters for approval, bypassing the threat of Hobbs’ veto stamp.

One of them already has passed the Senate. HCR2038 would designate drug cartels as terrorist organizations if passed by the House and approved by voters in November.

“Doing that allows you to prosecute them more go. It allows you to go after them more,” Petersen said.

Hobbs vetoed a similar bill Republicans sent to her desk last session.

GOP lawmakers want Arizona voters to pass child sex trafficking law

The other proposed referendum, HCR2042, seeks to impose life sentences with no chance for parole for child sex trafficking convictions.

Petersen called opponents of the proposal “soft on crime.”

“This is just flat-out evil. … You can’t allow that evil to go back out and harm other people. You’ve already destroyed a child’s life completely once; we cannot allow that to happen again,” he said.

How else do Arizona Republicans want to address border security?

Another bill in the works, HB2134, is related to penalties for unlawful flight from law enforcement.

“The cartels are recruiting people to smuggle people, and they’ll get in these high-speed chases, and … they’ve had terrible accidents. … Innocent people are getting killed on these unlawful flights. And so, we have a bill to address that,” Petersen said.

The Republican border security push also includes bills addressing fentanyl deaths and the use of social media and electronic devices.

“All of these should be hitting her desk soon,” Petersen said of Hobbs. “Our hope is that they will engage and that they will work with us on these issues.”

Why did Gov. Katie Hobbs veto first border bill?

The first bill passed by the Legislature this session was vetoed by Hobbs on March 4. SB1231, aka the Arizona Border Invasion Act, would have made it a state crime to enter the Arizona outside of lawful points of entry.

In her veto letter, Hobbs said the legislation presented constitutional concerns that would likely lead to costly litigation, and she questioned whether it would actually help secure the border.

The bill was similar to a Texas law that is currently on hold while it works its ways through the court system.

Petersen doesn’t agree with Hobbs’ reasoning. He also said he was confident that the U.S. Supreme Court in its current form would rule in favor of the legislation.

“I think that’s just an excuse. Her excuse would change if it was constitutional; it would be something else, I presume. … We should be moving this forward, absolutely,” he said.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Live Love is a nonprofit dedicated to improving local communities. (Live Love photos/via Facebook)...

David Veenstra

Chandler approves long-term partnership for new community center development

The city of Chandler reached an agreement with nonprofit Live Love to be able to use a new community center currently being developed. 

4 hours ago

southern Arizona rancher George Alan Kelly...

Associated Press

Jurors don’t have a verdict yet in an Arizona rancher’s trial for fatally shooting a migrant

A jury in southern Arizona is still deliberating in the trial of a rancher charged with fatally shooting an unarmed migrant on his property near the U.S.-Mexico border.

6 hours ago

During an earnings call on April 18, 2024, the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. said engineer...

Amy Edelen/Phoenix Business Journal

Wafer production underway at TSMC’s Phoenix factory; Q1 earnings beat expectations

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. is making “significant progress” on its north Phoenix site with engineering wafer production already underway.

8 hours ago

Repeat killer sentenced to life in prison after murdering girlfriend...

Tempe man sentenced to life in prison for murdering girlfriend

The Maricopa County Attorney's Office said it sentenced Gary Cox, 60, a repeat killer, to life in prison for murdering his girlfriend.

9 hours ago

Mugshot of Alvin Massenburg II, who was arrested April 17, 2024, in connection with a fatal shootin...

Suspect arrested 2 days after deadly shooting at Phoenix smoke shop

An arrest has been made in a Phoenix smoke shop shooting that left one man dead earlier this week, authorities announced Friday.

10 hours ago

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes speaks to reporters in Phoenix after the state Supreme Court up...

Kevin Stone

Arizona’s near-total abortion ban can’t be enforced before June 8, AG Kris Mayes tells providers

Arizona's near-total abortion ban can't be enforced before June 8, the state's top legal officer told medical providers this week.

11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.


Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

Here’s how Arizona GOP lawmakers aim to avoid Hobbs’ veto stamp on some border legislation